When men in their late-40s and 50s feel the need to reform their bands and start playing again it is always a worry.
Others never quite went away but, whichever, it is always a concern for me to see bands I loved in the late seventies and early eighties playing again.
Scars of course came back and did a triumphant gig at the Picture House to help fund the Avalanche move to the Grassmarket and Skids have just finished a very successful tour on the back of a new album that charted top 30. The Rezillos never really went away, at least not for long, and still tour the world.
However my favourite album from bands of that post-punk era that have reformed is the TV21 album Forever 22. They originally got back together to rerecord some of their old songs after problems getting clearance to release the originals and found themselves making a new album.
They always say write about what you know and this is an album about being 50-year-old men that still appeals to a wider audience. What recently reminded me of this was a link I was sent for a song called The Pop Inn by Sons of Southern Ulster.
Lyrically it was very strong, half-sung half-spoken, and is basically about life in a small town, Bailieborough in County Cavan, in the Seventies. I was sure these guys must have been in other bands but it turned out that though they had all been in a band together when much younger they had long ago given all that up for more sensible jobs and only quite recently got back together.
As I’ve already mentioned another band that is very much still well thought of is Dublin’s Whipping Boy. Their album Heartworm is seen by many as a stone cold classic and it actually beat all the U2 albums and My Bloody Valentine to be voted Ireland’s best album of all time on one well-known Irish radio station.
I listened to more songs from Sons of Southern Ulster which were all along the same theme and it was very much an album Whipping Boy could have made had they all got back together. As a document of what it was like to be a kid in a small Irish town in the Seventies it is powerful stuff.
The TV21 album also had themes of looking back as Forever 22 suggests. Of course Ed Sheeran, a man in his mid-20s, has made a fortune reminiscing about his life as a teenager and being in his early 20s though I would suggest that the insight needed on earlier times maybe takes a little longer than a few years. You can find the Sons of Southern Ulster album along with TV21 and Whipping Boy in the Avalanche online shop.
A life-saving service for everyone over 50
On a more serious note about being over 50, several public figures have recently mentioned their battle with bowel cancer, something which anybody over 50 is screened for in Scotland every couple of years. I had previously sent off the test but last year misplaced the kit and then never got round to ordering a replacement.
Luckily I came across a letter reminding me to return the test a month ago and had a new kit sent out. The new test is even simpler than the old one that took three days to complete and now only needs one sample. The results came back very quickly and thankfully all was fine and certainly I would recommend that everybody eligible makes use of this life-saving screening service.